Animation History
May 1, 2013 posted by

NOT Hanna Barbera

Today, lest you ever thought the poor deprived children of the 1960s were force-fed only a steady diet of Hanna Barbera TV cartoons, here’s just a few of the non-Bill & Joe productions from that era – via this hastily put together of gallery of the comic book and coloring book covers.

goldkey_krazy felix1 hercules_comics tvpinocchio
deputydawg1 astroboycomic bozocomix1 beanycomic
kingleonardo1 courageous_cat_cover diverdanAlvin_Christmas


  • I remmber them very fondly,except for Diver Dan.I don’t recall watching him,nor Courageous Cat and Minute Mouse.The rest i do remember,plus some others like the Funny Company

    • IIRC, Diver Dan was never on a network show. I remember watching it on WGN-TV Chicago – I think it was a segment of the Garfield Goose show in the mid ’60s. I don’t recall it anywhere after that.

  • Those BOZO cartoons are bad…REALLY bad. Some of the most un-funny animation I’ve ever seen.

    There is a laserdisc collection of a few of these awful cartoons. It has a cheap-looking Bozo introducing each cartoon. At the end of the laserdisc, Bozo carefully reminds you to please rewind. Not much care went into that release.

    These are not to be confused with the many excellent live Bozo’s from around the country, especially the one in Chicago.

  • What? No Rocky and Bullwinkle? No George of the Jungle?

  • There really was a ton of East Coast made-for-TV animation in the period from 1959-67, both from the two NY-based theatrical production houses and from those created for the specific purpose of doing made for TV cartoons. And at least a little of the stuff (specifically Larz Bourne’s Deputy Dawg) were actually more appealing than the theatrical work being turned out by the studio.

    (Also in the early going, there really wasn’t much difference between the ‘look’ of what Paramount was doing for TV and their theatricals and what their former employees working for Joe Orilio or Hal Seeger were doing, so for example Orilio’s Beetle Bailey pilot cartoon looks exactly like the Paramount ones that followed. That would change by the mid-60s, but by the end of the decade large-scale New York production of TV cartoon was pretty much dead, with H-B, D-FE and Filmation on the West Coast dominating the Saturday morning and syndicated lineups.)

  • Isn’t it odd that the only cartoon created by a comic-book guy is the only one of these cartoons that you needed to resort to a coloring book cover to represent it? I always wondered why it was that Bob Kane was unable to sell his own cartoon show(s) to DC Comics, who was, of course, giving him the ability to moonlight in the first place by paying him for “creating” Batman. (Turns out, of course, that about all he created was the name, with the parts that weren’t plagiarized from THE SHADOW or other pulp stories and Big Little Book artwork actually contributed by writer Bill Finger and assistant Jerry Robinson.) He could have hired someone to be “Bob Kane” to draw COURAGEOUS CAT AND MINUTE MOUSE for them, inasmuch as most of the cartoon was simply the funny-animal version of Batman and Robin. Understandably, a tiny company like Trans-Artists/Tele Features had little chance of selling it to any other publisher for fear that DC might get an injunction against them…but how does that explain why COOL McCOOL, produced by King Features, not only didn’t get a syndicated King comic strip spin-off, it didn’t get adapted to comic books–even though it came out simultaneously with King having their very own comics group? Until the DVDs were issued for those two Kane-created series, they were among the ’60s cartoon series where we had no contemporaneous(American) souvenir comic-book representation to remind us what it was about: CLUTCH CARGO, Q.T. HUSH, THE DICK TRACY SHOW, DAVEY & GOLIATH, NUTTY SQUIRRELS, LARIAT SAM, OUT OF THE INKWELL, SPACE ANGEL, FUNNY COMPANY, STINGRAY, ROD ROCKET, TENNESEE TUXEDO, BIG WORLD OF LITTLE ADAM, HOPPITY HOOPER, THE BEATLES, ROGER RAMJET, ASTRONUT/LUNO THE WHITE STALLION, THUNDERBIRDS, THE BEAGLES, SUPER PRESIDENT, CAPTAIN FATHOM, KIMBA THE WHITE LION (among many other Japanese imports, especially SPEED RACER), ROCKET ROBIN HOOD, SUPER 6, BATFINK, MAX THE 2000-YEAR OLD MOUSE, CAPTAIN SCARLET, OFF TO SEE THE WIZARD, JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE EARTH, GO-GO GOPHERS/KLONDIKE CAT, MARINE BOY, SKY HAWKS, HERE COMES THE GRUMP, and, for those of us who count their decades AS years ending in “1” through years ending in “0,” GROOVIE GOOLIES, RELUCTANT DRAGON & MR. TOAD and FURTHER ADVENTURES OF DR. DOOLITTLE. A lot of missed opportunities there, but remember: GILLIGAN’S ISLAND was never a comic book, while IT’S ABOUT TIME was. Roll of the dice.

  • That has to be the freakiest looking Felix I’ve ever seen!

    • Well, it was the sixties.
      And I suppose, serves as a foreshadow to The Twisted Tales of Felix… Man I really want those on DVD!

  • I like that fish with a cigarette in his mouth next to Diver Dan!

  • “Spunky and Tadpole” was produced in Florida. That still qualifies as ‘East coast,’ however south.

    • I don’t know too much about Spunky and Tadpole, but I’m inclined to think they were made somewhere in LA. The few people who we know worked on the show were LA based, like Art Moore, Don Messick and Joan Gardner. You might be thinking of Colonel Bleep which was produced in Florida by the Soundac company of Miami.

    • Spunky & Tadpole was produced by “Beverly Hills Productions” so I’d be inclined to think that might be a West Coast outfit. Or maybe that’s just what they wanted us to think.

  • “Diver Dan” was never on network. And i have very fond memories of allllll of these, espesh King Leonardo & Odie Coiogne!!

  • The mind boggles . . . I have so many bad memories of all these awful cartoons. I had intended, all through my ’50s and ’60s childhood, to become an animator. One of the principal things that discouraged me from doing it was having seen what the art of animation had become. Who could have foreseen the renascence that would begin some twenty years later?

    That said, I do fondly remember “Beany and Cecil” — one of the few notable exceptions to the trend. The animation wasn’t that great, but the story lines (and the memorable puns) were wonderfully creative.

    • Remeber that television buget was not the same as tradtional animation budget. Besides, I thought most of the stuff was decent (and sometime good).

  • “Diver Dan” doesn’t belong in a discussion about TV cartoons, because it was NOT a cartoon! It was all shot real time, with marionette fish, such as “The Baron Barracuda” and “Trigger Fish”, Paul Frees did several voices for the series. The episodes were shot in color, but most of the distribution prints were black and white.

    • I was going to say something about that Mark, though surely it’s presence was still felt by plenty under the curtain of deceit!

    • There was also a tank with some live fish in the foreground of Diver Dan, out of focus, to add to the action and pretend-underwater ambiance. ‘Diaper Dan,’ my friends called him back in sixth grade. Transcendently wooden stuff!

  • Anyone want to talk about Minerva the Mermaid. My live for Minerva drove me to buy the complete Diver Dan on VHS a few year’s back.

  • Astro Boy? I’ll stay with the Dark Horse manga translation, thank you.

    • I recall there being a Kimba The White Lion coloring book to boot!

      Really, the things they tried bringing over those days, we ought to be grateful we got anything at all.

    • What really impressed me about the Kimba the White Lion Coloring Book was that the character who is clearly named old Pop Wooly in the TV episode is Papa Louie in the coloring book. Obviously the coloring book was produced by someone who watched two or three episodes of the TV program and misheared one of the names on the sound track.

      Loathed The Mighty Hercules. Loved its theme song by Winston Sharples.

    • That theme song was the only redeeming thing of that show.

    • “Fire in his eyes, iron in his thighs…” I have a friend who says his sexuality was awakened by watching The Mighty Hercules.

  • Topic for another day: Many original cartoons were marketed to television as shorts (like Hercules, Courageous Cat and Felix) as opposed to half-hour series (like Beany & Cecil, King Leonardo and Alvin). The former were usually identified by having a theme song and/or title sequence on each individual short to introduce the character; the latter more often had just a title card on each short, since the show’s main opening titles and bumpers did that job.

    Local stations would drop the free-floating shorts into hosted kiddie shows or homegrown “Cartoon Time” programs, maybe to provide a break from old theatricals. Even HB got in on this action, with Ruff and Reddy, Lippy the Lion, Touche Turtle, Wally Gator and Sinbad the Sailor. All had title sequences and, unusual for HB, didn’t have a “home” series.

    While the Mighty Marvel Superheroes had their immortal theme songs and played on the Captain Satellite Show in my neck of the wood, they also had an opening and ending for a half-hour version. This was an exception. Surprised King Features never branded their comic-strip based shorts as a half-hour show, with or without Popeye.

  • A lot of these comic book covers are so awkward, they are close to falling into the uncanny valley!

  • I don’t know the name of the author, but these are all nostalgic things that I saw in Manga no Kuni and Manga Kid Box a long time ago… Sheriff Wan Wan, Bat-kun who defeats bad guys with steel wings, Cat and Mouse Patrol, Ultra Dog, Heckel & Jeckel, and other fun works that could not be imagined in Japan.

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